Frequently Asked Questions
If someone is holding an event on campus, can I protest it?
Yes – activism is very much part of a marketplace of ideas, and we encourage expression in protest of other expression. The campus encourages all who engage in protest activity to do so safely. Below are some reminders for how to protest safely:
- Avoid activity that infringes on the rights of others, such as blocking and preventing the movement or access of others.
- Follow the lawful instructions of a police officer or public official, such as staying behind barricades, dispersing from an area declared an unlawful assembly, not resisting arrest. It is against the law to disobey a lawful order by a police officer.
- Leave the area where others are engaging in illegal activities and acts of violence. Your presence may be interpreted as participating in a riot or illegal group action. Staying overnight in a campus building after hours is prohibited.
- Refrain from speech that incites others to commit acts of violence such as pushing, kicking or spitting on others, destruction of property or other unlawful actions.
- Make informed decisions. If you choose to engage in civil disobedience and get arrested, know the potential consequences. See Dean of Students, Student Conduct for more information.
Can people who oppose a speaker’s message use their own freedom of speech to drown out the offending words?
No, freedom of speech does not give someone the right to drown out the words and speech of others; freedom of speech would mean little if the audience was able to silence anyone with whom they disagreed. Once a society starts down the path of condoning such de facto censorship, it creates the culture and conditions in which anyone’s rights of speech can be compromised.
How do time, place and manner restrictions relate to protest?
As discussed above in the section “What are ‘time, place and manner’ restrictions? How do they relate to controversial speakers?” the Supreme Court has said that public entities like CSUF have discretion in regulating the “time, place and manner” of speech. The right to speak on campus is not a right to speak any time, at any place and in any manner that a person wishes. These restrictions do not vary depending on the views or ideas being expressed; rather they are about ensuring that speech occurs in a way that does not disrupt the campus’s educational mission or endanger public safety.